‘Cruel Summer’ is the latest psychological thriller series from creator Bert V. Royal set to hit Freeform platform this April. The Jessica Biel, produced series, takes place in the 90’s spanning over three summers in the life of two teenage girls. Kate Wallis, a popular teen that has everything and goes missing one day, and Jeanette Turner, a nerdy teen that wants it all and is accused of being connected to Kate’s disappearance. This story is told over three summers from different points of view. It starts to unravel as quickly as it starts.
Episode one of ‘Cruel Summer’ debuted at SXSW and I am a sucker for all psychological thrillers involving kids and teens. Anyone who was a 90’s kid in middle school or high school will get serious nostalgia vibes with the sets, costuming and of course the great soundtrack. You will be singing to the soundtrack shocked you still remember all of the lyrics to “that song” and remembering that “you owned a shirt just like that.” Throw in a true crime mystery for good measure and honestly you have a damn near perfect series.
Chiara Aurelia is incredible in her role as Jeanette Turner. Bouncing back and forth between summers as a sweet, cute, quiet girl, to the most hated teen in America. Her innocence is stripped away from backlash from the media and her people in her hometown. What happened to Jeanette Turner? Her life has taken a turn for the worse. The bright vibrant young teen is now going through life with tears in her eyes afraid to leave home and hating life.
The first episode begs the question, “What happened to this girl?” And not the one that went missing. The unique ways in which this series bounces back and forth between 3 different summers in the 90’s shows how fragile adolescence can be. As personalities evolve, friendships grow and love take hold, it’s easy to relate. The writing is so well done that even if you were not a teen in the 90’s, the viewer can easily flashback to what it was like to be a teen no matter when that was.
Harley Quinn Smith, Froy Gutierrez and Olivia Holt are just some of the fantastic supporting cast. The story evolves as they all begin to give their own account of the event. Strong friendships dissolve, relationships end abruptly and lives are ruined. It’s hard to tell where the story will take us, but it’s sure to be a wild ride that will keep you guessing until the end.
‘Cruel Summer’ is set to air on Freeform on April 20th with 8 episodes. For all of you binge watchers out there you will have to practice some patience, each new episode will air on Tuesday evenings. If you are a fan of mysteries, true crime and thrillers, then this is one you won’t want to miss!
SXSW 2021 REVIEW: ‘Cruel Summer’ Cast Serious Nostalgic Vibes Wrapped Up in a Psychological Thriller Series